Sunday, December 29, 2013

Can You Play Your Harp?

Click here to listen to blog

After this, I looked at the sky and saw something else that was strange and important. Seven angels were bringing the seven last terrible troubles. When these are ended, God will no longer be angry.

Then I saw something that looked like a glass sea mixed with fire, and people were standing on it. They were the ones who had defeated the beast and the idol and the number that tells the name of the beast. God had given them harps,  and they were singing the song his servant Moses and the Lamb had sung. They were singing,

“Lord God All-Powerful,

you have done great

and marvelous things.

You are the ruler

of all nations,

and you do what is

right and fair.

Lord, who doesn't honor

and praise your name?

You alone are holy,

and all nations will come

and worship you,

because you have shown

that you judge

with fairness.”

Revelation 15:1-4

I have never really wanted to learn to play the harp. A harp is sort of a piano without the keys and without a box to hold it. You play a harp with your fingers and it looks to me like it would be a difficult art to master.

In these verses God gave harps to the people who defeated the Beast! Then those same folks sang a song of praise to God! Who taught this multitude of people to play their harps? I can understand that they may be able already to sing, but not everyone can play the harp. Did only people who knew how to play the harp defeat the Beast or did God teach the people who defeated the Beast to play the harp?

Maybe this is really reading more into these verses than is there, but I see that after a time of Spiritual warfare there is a time of praise and worship. And that worship is itself God inspired and supported. God enables me to praise Him and gives me the ability to "Play the Harp" that He has placed in my hands.

In a real sense all those who follow Jesus and do battle for God are "gifted musicians." God gives us the ability to praise Him and He gives us the instruments with which to do it!
So here is the bottom line. Use whatever God has given you to praise Him! Look for ways to praise God with everything you have!

"Lord Jesus, thank you for enabling me to praise You with everything You have given me. Teach me today to praise You with the harp that You have put into my hands. And may You Lord surely be praised forever. Amen."

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Life of the Messenger!

Click here to listen to blog

I tell you that people will come here from cities everywhere. Those of one town will go to another and say, “We're going to ask the Lord All-Powerful to treat us with kindness. Come and join us.”

Many people from strong nations will come to Jerusalem to worship me and to ask me to treat them with kindness.  When this happens, ten people from nations with different languages will grab a Jew by his clothes and say, “Let us go with you. We've heard that God is on your side.” I, the Lord All-Powerful, have spoken!

Zechariah 8:20-23

I have believed for many years that when you truly walk with Jesus on a daily basis and trust Him for everything in your life you will regularly be sought out by those who want to know why you are the way you are. A tree with lots of delicious and beautiful fruit cannot be ignored.

They will ask you why you are at peace when the world around you is in conflict and at war. They will ask how you are able to be strong when humanly speaking you are very weak. They will be amazed at even the smile on your face when no one else is smiling.

When you hear a message and the life of the messenger denies the validity of the message you almost always believe what you see in that life. But when you see a truly remarkable life of someone obviously empowered to live differently from everyone else you may not do so immediately, but eventually you will ask for an explanation.

They are not just wanting to see your honesty and character, but they want to know if the message you preach is demonstrated in the life you live! A blind man is not a good witness to the beauty of the sunset, but the face of a man who is obviously in awe of the beauty God creates at the close of every day is remarkable.

If you want win people to Jesus, then spend your time making sure that your life with Jesus is authentic and true. When you do that not only will your witness have power, but men and women will ask you about the source of your strength.

"Lord Jesus, may the power of walking with You so flood my life today that others will ask me why I am the way I am. With You, Jesus in control of my life I can proclaim the Good News of who You are and what You offer every man with power and peace. Help me to show Your life to others as I wait for Your return. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen!"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crooks in Control!

Click here to listen to blog

When crooks are in control,

everyone tries to hide,

but when they lose power,

good people are everywhere.

Proverbs 28:28

About nine months before President Richard Nixon resigned his presidency he declared to the nation "I am not a crook." He of course was referring to the Watergate Scandal that ultimately brought him down.

President Nixon very appropriately identified the importance of not having a “crook” or a criminal as the leader of your country.

In countries where the people can vote for their leaders it is really important for accurate and honest information be given to the people so they can judge the character of the man or woman who is running for office.  As King Solomon quite accurately said, "When crooks are in control, everyone tries to hide."

The sobering truth is that every man and woman alive who is led by their natural fleshly humanity is a "crook." The flesh is dishonest and deceitful. You will be lied to by your own fleshly body! But if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are led not by your flesh, but by the Holy Spirit! God's Spirit is not a crook!

Let Jesus Christ be in control of your life and "good people" will be everywhere!

"Lord Jesus I confess to you that too often I let my flesh be in control of my life instead of the Holy Spirit. Help me today to say "No" to my flesh and "Yes" to Your Spirit. Amen."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joy Restored!

Click here to listen to blog

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”  And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

Nehemiah 8:9-12

We sing "Joy to the World" at Christmas time, but it seems there is no joy this year. I sat on a bench near the door of a Wal-Mart store four days before Christmas and watched the faces of the shoppers. No one was smiling and there certainly seemed to be no joy!
I had seen those faces before in the early 1970's when I spent a couple of days in the old Soviet Union. It appeared that no one was happy, or smiling, and there seemed to be no joy, only sadness and even fear.

Some are saying that we are becoming like the Russians in the transformation of our government. I don't know if that is right or not but our faces do look like theirs.
I not only remember the sad faces of those oppressed people of more than 40 years ago, but I also remember the joy on the faces of almost everyone at Christmas time here in this country! That was before we threatened people with "legal action" if they mentioned Jesus Christ or even God in public places!

So when you take Christ out of Christmas you also take the Joy out of the world! You and I may not be able to restore the rightful place of God in our country, but we can put Christ back in our Christmas and let the Joy come back to our hearts.

This year let the Joy come to your heart from Jesus because there is no joy in the world! And when you do be sure and let the Joy of the Lord be seen on your face. Then go to Wal-Mart and walk around smiling at everyone you meet!

"Lord Jesus may the "Joy of the Lord" be my strength today, and may everyone see that joy on my face. Let Joy itself be a witness of Your love for all the world! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Nature of God in Me

Click here to listen to blog

We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. God made great and marvelous promises, so his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world.

2 Peter 1:3-4

What does it mean that God's nature becomes a part of us? Jesus became a man and lived among us so that we can become like God and live with Him! Adam and Eve wanted to be like God but they missed that mark entirely. By eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they became like Satan not like God! Before they sinned Adam and Eve already had a relationship with God that was ideal. They had been created in the image of God and they were like their Creator.

But when they sinned the first man and first woman fell into the terrible state that humanity has lived in ever since. Jesus came to restore us to the place of Adam and Eve in the Garden before the Fall! He does that by once again having us be "born" with the very nature of God living in us! His Holy Spirit is our daily, practical guide, adviser, teacher and comforter!

We are like the caterpillar. It does not become a butterfly because of anything it does. It is because of the nature that God put in the caterpillar that it becomes a beautiful butterfly! God's nature living in you insures that you will morph into a creature of Heaven rather than simply a man or woman of this earth!

When that change is complete you will fly away to live with Jesus forever!

"Lord Jesus, help me to focus on who I will be after I am changed completely into Your image! It is an amazing future that You have promised me and all those who have been born again into a new life with a new nature! Release me Lord and let me go! Amen."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Slaves No More!

Click here to listen to blog

Children who are under age are no better off than slaves, even though everything their parents own will someday be theirs. This is because children are placed in the care of guardians and teachers until the time their parents have set. This is how it was with us. We were like children ruled by the powers of this world.

But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law,  so he could set us free from the Law, and we could become God's children.  Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father. You are no longer slaves. You are God's children, and you will be given what he has promised.

Galatians 4:1-7

When slaves become free men and women the transition is sometimes a difficult one. Along with Freedom comes the privilege of making choices and doing things that a slave could not do. Like some of the Children of Israel who wanted to go back to the slavery of Egypt after Moses led them to freedom across the Red Sea some former slaves even today long for the life of bondage from which they came!

The Bible talks about two forms of slavery that capture all men at some time or other in their lives. The one we most often think of is slavery to sin. Every form of addiction comes under this category.

But there is another form of slavery and it is usually ignored. Slavery to the law is more often than not overlooked. Men and women who are slaves to the law today are "good people" who do good things and are respected in this world for their successes. They follow the rules and prosper because of it. But they are still slaves because they have not been set free by the blood of Jesus!

So there are three possible states of man. A man is either a slave of sin, a slave of the law or a man set free from both sin and the law by the blood of Jesus Christ!

When you are set free from sin, then Satan wants to lure you to become a slave of the law. But when you are set free from sin and the law you step into the amazing life of living in the Eternal Freedom that Jesus came to give you!

"Lord Jesus, I confess to you that living as a man free from sin and the law is hard to imagine. What an amazing life You have promised all of us who come to You for Freedom. Teach me today more of what it means to live in the Freedom that You died to give me! May You be Praised forever! Amen."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Power in Private

Click here to listen to blog

Three days later Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at a wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited and were there.

When the wine was all gone, Mary said to Jesus, “They don't have any more wine.”

Jesus replied, “Mother, my time hasn't yet come! You must not tell me what to do.”

Mary then said to the servants, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.”

John 2:1-5

Why did the mother of Jesus think that Jesus could address the issue of the wine running out at the wedding? The Bible does not say, but it seems almost obvious that she had seen Jesus display His power privately. Again there is no Biblical story that even suggests such a thing, but why else would she bring up the possibility if she had not seen it happen before?

When I think of miracles today, I ponder the public displays of God's power that amaze everyone who sees them.

Jesus had never done a public miracle before, but Mary knew He could and asked Him to intervene.

Do you see the power of Jesus in your private life? Is your personal relationship with Jesus filled with demonstrations of His power? Mary may have seen the miraculous power of Jesus without telling others about it. Every moment of your relationship with Jesus does not have to be made public. I believe there can and perhaps should be a private part of your life with Jesus about which you do not tell others.

"Lord Jesus show me today a demonstration of Your power for me to see, but not to share. Let me know You better today than I have ever known You before. Amen."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Die Nasty

Click here to listen to blog

Don't you know that evil people won't have a share in the blessings of God's kingdom? Don't fool yourselves! No one who is immoral or worships idols or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or behaves like a homosexual will share in God's kingdom. Neither will any thief or greedy person or drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats others. Some of you used to be like that. But now the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of God's Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Long beards are becoming popular in the United States because of the most popular cable television show in history. Duck Dynasty has grabbed the attention of millions of Americans and I am sure many around the world as Phil Robertson and his family display a previously unheard of mix of faith, family and funny Louisiana backwoods behavior along with new found riches from making and selling duck calls!

Now Robertson has been indefinitely suspended from the show because of plain spoken "offensive" comments about homosexuality.

Part of Robertson's response to the criticism included this comment: "My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

The very refreshing and bold honesty of Phil Robertson on the show is quite obviously not an "actor playing a role." The American audience give's the show the best ratings ever when they are not the ones offended. But when the offense is directed at the powerful lobby based on sexual orientation Mr. Robertson must be silenced!

The lesson for me is not that I must judge Phil Robertson right or wrong in what he said. But I must ask myself if I am willing to throw everything to the wind in order to speak what I believe is the Word of God? Robertson reminds me of one of the Old Testament prophets who paid no attention to what people thought about their words. They were only concerned that the words they spoke came from God.

"Lord Jesus give me the courage today to speak Your Word no matter what others may think. Your opinion Lord Jesus is the only opinion that matters. And may Your Name be praised forever! Amen."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reason to Celebrate!

Click here to listen to blog

Fig trees may no longer bloom,

or vineyards produce grapes;

olive trees may be fruitless,

and harvest time a failure;

sheep pens may be empty,

and cattle stalls vacant—

but I will still celebrate

because the Lord God

is my Savior.


The Lord gives me strength.

He makes my feet as sure

as those of a deer,

and he helps me stand

on the mountains.

Habakkuk 3:17-19a

I was at a small business not far from my house and saw that they sell dried food for survivalists. It is not inexpensive, but should the day come when you have nothing else to eat it would certainly be a blessing. For just a moment I got a vision of the gloom and doom that would be everywhere around if those who bought that food actually needed to eat it. I'm sure that those who are preparing for the worst haven't really thought about what it would be like when the "worst" arrived!

But for those who Love Jesus, according to these verses in Habakkuk we can still celebrate even when everything else has gone wrong. That is because the Reason for the Celebration is Jesus Himself and the promise of Heaven! When you focus your heart and mind on the Glory of God and not the tragedies of this world, you can rejoice about the past, the present and the future!

Look up! Even the Heavens declare the Glory of God. Because of Jesus you can celebrate every day of your life. You can celebrate when things are good, and you can celebrate when "everything" goes wrong! You can celebrate in the strength of your youth and you can celebrate as you draw near to the day of your death!

Someone has said of Christmas that "Jesus is the reason for the season," but the truth is that "Jesus is the reason for all seasons."

With Jesus in your heart, every day of the rest of your life can be like Christmas morning!

"Lord Jesus, forgive me for letting the world and all of it's troubles steal my joy. I can celebrate and rejoice because of You and nothing else truly matters. May this day be a day of celebration as I wait for Your return. Amen."

Monday, December 16, 2013

How to be Born Again!

Click here to listen to blog

Nicodemus asked, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time?”

Jesus answered:

I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above.  Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going.

John 3:4-8

Being baptized and being born again are quite similar. Usually, when those two things are mentioned in the same sentence the discussion then goes on to establish the relationship or lack of relationship between the two. For the purpose of this comment I choose to ignore that topic and focus on something that rarely is noticed with being baptized and being born again.

Being baptized and being born again are things that happen to you, not things that you do or even can do yourself. You cannot baptize yourself and you cannot cause yourself to be born again! Actually, your role is to "allow" those things to happen. You may decide to be baptized, but if there is no one to baptize you it will not happen. You may also decide to be born again, but unless the Holy Spirit does it, it will not happen.

So all the things you "must do" to be saved are simply acts of submission to God and His Spirit. When your new birth happens it is truly nothing less than the power of God applied to your life so that you might be changed into the image of His Son and live with Him forever! The Holy Spirit “Delivers” you from this world and it’s wickedness and plants your feet firmly in the Kingdom of Heaven!

“Lord Jesus I thank you for bringing Eternal Life to lost sinners!  I choose this day to obey You and Your every Word.  Do to me whatever You choose.  May Your Name be Praised forever! Amen.”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Storms from God?

Click here to listen to blog

You should praise the Lord

for his love

and for the wonderful things

he does for all of us.


You should celebrate

by offering sacrifices

and singing joyful songs

to tell what he has done.


Some of you made a living

by sailing the mighty sea,

and you saw the miracles

the Lord performed there.


At his command a storm arose,

and waves covered the sea.


You were tossed to the sky

and to the ocean depths,

until things looked so bad

that you lost your courage.


You staggered like drunkards

and gave up all hope.


You were in serious trouble,

but you prayed to the Lord,

and he rescued you.


He made the storm stop

and the sea be quiet.


You were happy because of this,

and he brought you to the port

where you wanted to go.

Psalm 107:21-30

Even among those who believe in God and His Almighty Power there is a debate about whether or not God is the author of destructive weather. I suppose more importantly when "natural disasters" come there is no cry to God for help! We live as if God were dead or completely unable to help in times of trouble.

It may not be a storm with rain and wind and lightning, but there is a storm in your life. There is something that is threatening your peace and security and has at least for now taken your joy and replaced it with fear! You can choose to ignore the storm and hope to "ride it out." That is what the people did in the days of Noah and they were destroyed. Or you can recognize the power of God to calm the storm in your life and call out to Him for help!

The difference between a storm that is sent by God or allowed by God is this: God sends storms to get the attention of those who need to repent and turn back to Him. Satan sends storms in an attempt to destroy the faith of those who are followers of Jesus. You need to know where the storm comes from. If the storm is from God, then repent. If the storm is from Satan then hold tightly to your faith.

But you may say, "I'm not sure who authored this storm. It may have been God and it may have been Satan." Then surely you must do both. Repent and hold tightly to your faith!
Think about it. Is there a day when you can honestly say,"There is nothing in my life of which I need to repent!"

So here is the best advice. Even when there are no storms in your life, repent and hold on to your faith. And do those two things every day!

"Lord Jesus, I know You can calm this storm in my life today. And Jesus I trust You to do just that as I repent of my sin and hold on hard to the faith that You gave me. Praise Your Name forever! Amen."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Every Day Cross

Click here to listen to blog

Then Jesus said to all the people:

If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross every day and follow me.  If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life?

Luke 9:23-25

Jesus told the people who had not yet decided to follow Him that if they made that decision there would be a "Cross Every Day." Now I like to think of the Cross as a once in a lifetime event. That is what it was for Jesus. So why does Jesus say that I must take up my cross every day?

Perhaps we have the wrong idea of what "my cross" is all about. I have always thought of my cross as a personal burden and a place of suffering in this life. And so it is, but it is more, much more. The Cross is the place where Jesus died, and my cross is the place where I die daily to this world! Without my "Every Day Cross" I have no means of escaping the pull of this world!

Somewhere the Bible talks about being "Crucified with Christ." The crucifixion of Jesus was not a "spectator sport." Certainly Jesus died for us, but we also die with Him!

Remember, your daily cross is not just something you must endure. Your cross is your daily death to this world and everything in it. Unless you die with Jesus, you will not live with Jesus.

"Lord Jesus thank you for dying for me, but also letting me die with You. Help me today to see my cross as the way You have provided for me to follow in Your steps. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Wonders of Heaven!

I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.

Philippians 3:18-21

One of the signs that a man or woman is an enemy of the Cross of Christ and is headed for Hell is that all he or she can think about are "the things of this world."

A major part of planning any vacation is thinking about what it will be like when you get there. That's how you decide the details of the preparation for the trip. If you don't think about your destination you won't bring the right clothes for the current season.

When you make preparations for Heaven there is nothing that you bring with you except the Righteousness of Christ which covers you. Your preparations for Heaven are mostly a daily abandonment of the things of this world and being obedient to every Word of Scripture! Think about Heaven and try to imagine the unimaginable.

Remember if you are an enemy of the Cross of Christ, you only think about the things of this world. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are preparing to follow Him all the way to Heaven and you think about Heaven more than earth! I wonder if there will be a shout of victory in Heaven when Jesus leaves to come and get us? I wonder, I wonder about the Wonders of Heaven!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Live Like Jesus Did

Click here to listen to blog

When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, “What do people say about me?”

They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life.”

Jesus then asked, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah sent from God.”

Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.

Luke 9:18-21

What was it like to be alone with Jesus and His disciples? We struggle to know the divinity of Jesus but I sometimes have to work even harder to see Jesus as a human being. I want to be like Jesus in His "Godliness" but really never think of being like Jesus as a man.

The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way like I am tempted. Suffering through temptation is a problem for my flesh, not my spirit. When Jesus was tempted to sin, it was His humanity that felt the pull of sin and the pain of saying no to the temptation.

Did Jesus ever need to say "I'm sorry" to His mother? Jesus never sinned, but did He ever offend even those He loved? Jesus never repented or needed to repent, but we know His mother may have been hurt by His comments at the wedding where He turned water into wine. And don't forget about the time she wanted to see Him and He seemingly turned her away. I wonder what His private words to His mother were after those two events.

Remember when Jesus was a boy and after having been lost from his parents for three days He simply said "I must be about my Father's business." How did Joseph feel about those comments. I can't imagine that there was not a private conversation with Jesus and His earthly father about God and His role in the life of Jesus.

Of course we must be like Jesus as we minister, preach, reach out to the sick and homeless, but we must also be like Jesus when He was praying alone.

"Lord Jesus, teach me what it is to be like you on my day off. I want to live every minute of the life that I have left as You would have lived it. May the Holy Spirit lead me in the great moments, but also in the quiet times of being alone with You. Lord as You prepare me to live with You forever in Heaven show me how to live as You did every day on this earth. Praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spiritual Noise!

Click here to listen to blog

How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?  And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news.  Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, “Lord, has anyone believed what we said?”

No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

Romans 10:14-17

When my father was four years old he fell down in the road in front of a horse drawn wagon and one of the wheels ran over his head. The permanent injury from the accident was that he lost his hearing in his right ear. Even as a small boy I remember having to be careful when I spoke with my father so he could hear me. I also proved to be helpful to him when he wanted to know where a sound was coming from. With only one ear you can't easily identify the direction of a noise.

Being deaf, or even deaf in one ear is a problem in this world, but what if you are deaf spiritually? I really think that many people are spiritually deaf in one ear. They hear the sounds but cannot tell where they are coming from. When you are listening with two ears you can judge the direction of the sound because it is a little louder in one ear than the other. So when you turn your head, even slightly it becomes clear where the sound is.

There is lots of "spiritual noise" in this world that does not come from God. Just because something is "supernatural" does not mean that God is the author of it. Remember that Satan and his demons are "supernatural" as well. When something is "miraculous" that only means that it either comes from God or from Satan. Unless you are listening with both spiritual ears it is easy to get confused about where the supernatural in your life comes from!

The one "spiritual ear" that goes deaf in most people in this world is the Bible. When you hear something proclaimed to be true in this world, then open the "ear" of God's Word and see what it says. The Bible is the way to tell if some teaching, doctrine or "truth" is from God or the Devil. Your two spiritual ears are your own heart and the Word of God. Without listening with the help of the Bible you will often be deceived.

"Lord Jesus, open my spiritual ears so that I can rightly judge all the messages I hear in the world around me. May I hear clearly with both ears so that I may know the Words that come from You. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jesus Spoke the Word!

Click here to listen to blog

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses brought in a woman who had been caught in bed with a man who wasn't her husband. They made her stand in the middle of the crowd. Then they said, “Teacher, this woman was caught sleeping with a man who isn't her husband.

The Law of Moses teaches that a woman like this should be stoned to death! What do you say?”

They asked Jesus this question, because they wanted to test him and bring some charge against him. But Jesus simply bent over and started writing on the ground with his finger.

John 8:3-6

I think it is amazing that no one has ever tried to quote something that Jesus wrote. Even when Jesus bent over and wrote on the ground with His finger no one has reported what He wrote. There has been lots of speculation, but of course that is all it is. We simply do not know anything that Jesus ever wrote. I am certain that His lack of writing is not an accident.

There are of course many words that we know Jesus spoke. Just open and browse through a Red Letter Bible and you will see the words of Jesus jumping off of the page. Not even one of the Red Letter words came from something Jesus wrote.

Does that mean that the Written Word of God is not important? Of course not! I think it means that even a man or woman who cannot read or write can live a life that is just like Jesus! The Bible also says that faith comes by hearing. Which would you rather have, a letter that says "I love you," or the person who loves you standing next to you and whispering "I love you" in your ear while holding your hand?

Some have said that the Bible is a "Love Letter from God." And indeed it is, but there is more. When the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and lives in you, He speaks the love of God and touches the very core of your being.

My challenge for today is this: even as I read the written Word of God I must listen for His voice. The question is not "what did Jesus say," but rather "what is Jesus saying" to me today!

"Lord Jesus, open my ears and my heart that I may hear what You are saying to me today. As I read the Bible help me understand what You are speaking to my heart. And Lord, give me the courage to obey Your Word today. Amen."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Darkness Runs Away!

Click here to listen to blog

“Our God, your name

will be praised

forever and forever.

You are all-powerful,

and you know everything.

You control human events—

you give rulers their power

and take it away,

and you are the source

of wisdom and knowledge.

“You explain deep mysteries,

because even the dark

is light to you.

Daniel 2:20-22

I am constantly tempted to fret and even worry because of the things I see going on around me in the world. It is so easy for me to forget that God knows everything and that He is in control of human events! I think it would be good for me to read these verses at least every day!

I also find it difficult not to be disturbed by the outcome of elections because I think that mortal man, not God gives rulers their power and takes it away. If you look at the stories of those who came to power and then were taken out of power, it is easy to see the hand of God moving to orchestrate the rise and fall of world leaders.

But the thing that bothers me the most is "darkness." Literal, physical darkness is frightening, but emotional and even spiritual darkness are troubling and pull me toward despair. But there are the words in Daniel 2:22 that snatch me up set my feet in a better place. "You explain deep mysteries, because even the dark is light to you."

God doesn't need light in order to see, He is Himself the light. God needs no lamp or torch to light His way. God cannot be in darkness because if God is there, there is light! As you become more like Jesus the same will be true to for you. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit you cannot walk into the darkness, because the darkness will run away when you arrive!

Don't be afraid of the dark because with Jesus in your heart the darkness will leave when you come!

"Jesus, it is so easy for me to forget that You are indeed Lord, not only of my life, but of this whole world and everyone it in! May Your will be done today and forever! Amen."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Walk on the Water of Truth!


Click here to listen to blog

Jesus said to his disciples, “Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me.”

There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you.  After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.  You know the way to where I am going.”

Thomas said, “Lord, we don't even know where you are going! How can we know the way?”

“I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.”

John 14:1-6

When my six children were small, the greatest "sin" in our house was lying. Disobedience was wrong but lying about it made it much, much worse!

Lying is the poor substitute for the Blood of Jesus that Satan uses to try and cover your sin. Lying may keep others from knowing about your sin, but it will not hide your sin from God and it will not deal with the problem of sin and separation from God.Adam and Eve sinned and then they lied about it. That is because they listened to the father of lies and moved all men into the arena of running away from the truth. Jesus is Himself the truth and all lies are come from the Enemy of all mankind.

Quickly, into my mind comes the "yes but what about" argument when lying seems to be much more beneficial than telling the truth. "If I lie I will save a life, but if I tell the truth harm will come." I suppose this is where your faith is tested. Since Jesus is the truth then speaking truth brings Him into the conversation. If I speak lies then Satan is the influence of that moment.

Sometimes speaking truth is like when Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water! Did Peter trust the call of Jesus or what good common sense told him?

If you were to determine that for the rest of your life you would never, ever tell another lie, what would happen? Would you be pummeled by Satan and suffer many things? Yes you might and in fact it is certain that holding on to truth will guarantee suffering. But using the tactics of Satan is worse!

If you are not already committed to telling the truth in everything, then try it just for today. Test the waters of truth and see if they will support you as you walk in the storms of life.

"Lord Jesus, You are the Truth. Help me to hold on tightly to You today as I walk on the water of Truth! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Click here to listen to blog

From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them.  God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse.

They know about God, but they don't honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. They claim to be wise, but they are fools.

They don't worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.

So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies. They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God's creation instead of God, who will be praised forever. Amen.

Romans 1:18-25

In the United States of America there is a great struggle going on between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Thanksgiving is the day to gather with your family and give thanks to God for all that He has given us. Black Friday is the day that millions of Americans rush out to get more stuff for the Christmas gift giving season. Black Friday is not a derogatory term. It is called that because that is the day that many retailers begin to turn a profit for the year and are in the "black."

This year things are beginning to change because many retail outlets are opening in the evening of Thanksgiving Day to begin the rush for things and profits. "Things and profits" are not bad, but inserting them into a day that was set aside to be thankful to God most certainly is troubling. If this continues then next year I am sure that Black Friday will begin on Thanksgiving morning!Here is the problem.

These verses from Romans 1 say it very well. As we turn from God He removes His support system from our nation. We will continue to see "useless thoughts and stupid minds in the dark." We are bombarded with philosophies that even deny the existence of truth. The foolishness of such thinking is obvious to anyone with a sound mind. These rebels are certain that there are no certainties and are absolutely sure that there are no absolutes!

My challenge as a follower of Jesus Christ is simply to be "salt and light" and to keep from being polluted by the world. Being salt and light is offensive and not being polluted is defensive. Salt and light will change the world around you and the other will keep you from being changed.

"Lord Jesus, even though You have removed so many of Your blessings from a nation that has rebelled against You, please Lord support Your people with knowing Your mind about everything. Uphold us with Your righteousness and fill us with Your love. In Jesus Name. Amen."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jesus Witnesses to God

Click here to listen to blog

If you tell others you belong to me, I will tell my Father in heaven you are my followers.

But if you reject me, I will tell my Father in heaven you don't belong to me.

Matthew 10:32-33

When you have a conversation on this earth about who Jesus is, there is also a conversation going on in Heaven about who you are!

When you confess your faith in Jesus then Jesus tells the Father that you are one of His followers. But when you tell someone that you are not a follower of Jesus, then Jesus tells God that you don't belong to Him.

This "truth" gives a whole new perspective to witnessing to others about who Jesus is. When I "witness" on earth, then Jesus "witnesses" in Heaven.

We are tempted to judge ourselves by how many times someone "accepts Jesus" because of our witness. If I tell the story of Jesus a hundred times on this earth, then Jesus tells my story to the Father a hundred times in Heaven! Jesus tells God about me even when no one responds to my "witness" on this earth!

So when you have or seize an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus, then think about the fact that Jesus is at that moment turning to the Father and telling God that you belong to Him. Keeping that heavenly conversation in mind as I tell the story of Jesus here on earth frankly give me chills. All I have to do is to confess Jesus before men on this earth and He confesses me to His Father. That is utterly amazing.

How many times today will God hear the sweet voice of Jesus mention your name? How long has it been since He heard your name?

Does it matter whether others respond to Jesus and also become His disciples? Oh yes it matters very much, but my "success rate" at evangelism has nothing to do with what Jesus says to the Father about me.

So even if men laugh at me for telling them about Jesus, I will remember that Jesus is telling God once again that I belong to Him!

"Lord Jesus, forgive me for being ashamed of You before other men. Give me courage to tell others who You are every day including this day! And thank You Lord for telling the Father that I belong to You! And may You be praised forever. Amen!"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Birds in Heaven

Click here to listen to blog

Don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell. Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:28-31

When Jesus talked about sparrows and how cheap they are on this earth, there was much more to His perspective. According to Psalm 84:3 in God's temple "sparrows find a home near" His altars! There are sparrows in Heaven! So Jesus saw familiar birds from the altars of God in Heaven when He looked at sparrows on this earth.

Jesus even said that God notices when one sparrow dies. Of all the birds that God created Psalm 84 says that sparrows and swallows are part of the population of Heaven. I think it is quite obvious that God must give great value to sparrows. These birds that we consider cheap and expendable are allowed to make their homes near the altars of God in His temple!

What else does God greatly value and we count as worth very little or nothing at all? Make a list, even if just in your mind of the things that you consider to be the most important of all. Then make a list of the things that God considers most important. You will come up with that list by reading the Bible. God's priorities are in the Bible. Does your list and God's list have some of the same things on it? Maturing spiritually is the process of moving things on God's list to your list and removing all together some of the things on your list.

Remember when I see a sparrow, Jesus sees literally a "Bird of Paradise."

"Lord Jesus, help me today to see more things on this earth through Your eyes! May my priorities please You in every way. Show me more things that You greatly value that I may see them as You do. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Only God Who Can Help!

Click here to listen to blog

When Israel was a child,
I loved him,
and I called
my son out of Egypt.

But as the saying goes,
“The more they were called,
the more they rebelled.”

They never stopped offering
incense and sacrifices
to the idols of Baal.

I took Israel by the arm
and taught them to walk.
But they would not admit
that I was the one
who had healed them.

I led them with kindness
and with love,
not with ropes.
I held them close to me;
I bent down to feed them.

But they trusted Egypt
instead of returning to me;
Assyria will rule them.

War will visit their cities,
and their plans will fail.
My people are determined
to reject me for a god
they think is stronger,
but he can’t help.

Hosea 11:1-7

When a man, or a nation rejects Almighty God and bans Him from their personal and national life, they come to believe the lie that says "Now we are truly free!" It is because "freedom" itself is redefined to mean "life and liberties without consequences!"
A man wants no accountability for his life or any of his actions.

Freedom means then that I can do whatever I want to do and I can do it whenever I desire without dealing with negative feedback. That is not freedom. It is rather selfish rebellion against God Himself.

I suppose the first symptom of a life or nation turning away from God is when praise that once was common becomes increasingly rare. The man or people still cry out to God when things go wrong and troubles come, but the "good times" can be lived quite nicely without God.

Then comes the final sign that the death warrant has been signed. When a man or a nation suffers terribly and does not call out to God for His help, then you know the final stage has come! You know a man is truly an atheist when he clings on to his lack of faith in a "foxhole." When a man is at great risk of losing his life and he makes no move toward God then you know he really has no faith!

In the United States now when we suffer greatly from hurricanes, tornadoes and other widespread traumas there seems to be no mention of God from any of our national leaders. But there is much talk about how "strong" we are and that we will recover, but we do not call on people to pray for help and guidance from on high.

The monumental foolishness of rejecting the only God who can help is really beyond belief! Any fool knows that you must know what is in the bill before you pass it! Forget all the plans to restore, rebuild or repair the country. Turn back to God and encourage everyone you know to do the same thing.

"Lord Jesus we have sinned and rejected the only God who can help us in our desperate plight. Have mercy Lord and call us back to You. In Jesus Name, Amen!"

Friday, November 22, 2013

Perfection Not Possible!

Click here to listen to blog

Our Lord, you bless everyone

whose sins you forgive

and wipe away.


You bless them by saying,

“You told me your sins,

without trying to hide them,

and now I forgive you.”


Before I confessed my sins,

my bones felt limp,

and I groaned all day long.


Night and day your hand

weighed heavily on me,

and my strength was gone

as in the summer heat.


So I confessed my sins

and told them all to you.

I said, “I'll tell the Lord

each one of my sins.”

Then you forgave me

and took away my guilt.


We worship you, Lord,

and we should always pray

whenever we find out

that we have sinned.

Then we won't be swept away

by a raging flood.


You are my hiding place!

You protect me from trouble,

and you put songs in my heart

because you have saved me.


You said to me,

“I will point out the road

that you should follow.

I will be your teacher

and watch over you.


Don't be stupid

like horses and mules

that must be led with ropes

to make them obey.”


All kinds of troubles

will strike the wicked,

but your kindness shields those

who trust you, Lord.


And so your good people

should celebrate and shout.

Psalm 32

The world is full of broken relationships. Husbands and wives sin against each other and parents sin against their children. Rebellious children sin against their parents and the bond of birth is torn apart. The fundamental broken relationship is the fellowship of man and God. It fell apart in the Garden of Eden and remained severed until Jesus died on the Cross.

When a man or woman comes to Jesus "sorrowfully" confessing sins, that sorrow may be born of pride in believing they could have achieved perfection without Jesus. That expectation of perfection must be abandoned if we are to know the full work of Jesus in our lives. If we live our lives holding out the prospect that maybe we will be the first one to live a perfect life without Jesus then we are missing the truth of the "fall of man" and the purpose of the Cross of Christ!

The entire "world system" run by Satan is dedicated to the proposition that you can live a perfect life without Jesus. And so untold millions try and fail over and over again hoping that one day they will "get it right" and rise to the level of a perfect life!

So when you confess your sins to Jesus, do it with joy! Don't hold on to the false pride of believing you could have lived a perfect life without Jesus if you had only tried a little harder.

No one wakes up in the recovery room after major surgery sorrowful because they could have gotten well without the doctor if they had only tried a little harder! They always wake up with joy when they hear that the operation was a complete success!

The Great Physician never loses a patient! No one ever dies on God's operating table!

"Lord Jesus, forgive me of the pride of believing that I could have lived a perfect life without Your sacrifice. You know that I am a sinner, in need of Your sacrifice. Thank You Jesus for paying the price for every one of my sins! May You be praised forever. Amen."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sin and Consequences

Click here to listen to blog

The Lord said:

Ezekiel, son of man, you've heard people in Israel use the saying, “Time passes, and prophets are proved wrong.” Now tell the people that I, the Lord, am going to prove that saying wrong. No one will ever be able to use it again in Israel, because very soon everything I have said will come true! The people will hear no more useless warnings and false messages. I will give them my message, and what I say will certainly happen. Warn those rebels that the time has come for them to be punished. I, the Lord, make this promise.

Ezekiel 12:21-25

There is a very old joke about the "smartest man in the world" jumping out of an airplane after strapping on a stolen back pack which he thought was a parachute. There is no room here for the entire joke, but as you probably already know intelligence and utter foolishness sometimes go hand in hand.

We live in a world that has worked hard to remove the consequences of sin. We have come to believe that sin should be avoided because of the consequences, and so if you can eliminate the consequences of sin there is no need to keep yourself from it. But we have forgotten that sin is not wrong because of the consequences. Sin is wrong because it is rebellion against God and His Word!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it is not the consequences of sin that keep you from it. Christians stay away from sin not to make sure that suffering does not come their way because of rebellion. Christians don't sin because it makes Jesus sad when they do! When I follow Jesus, I live to please God! Whatever pleases God, that's what I desire to do.

Here is the problem for those who avoid sin only because of the consequences. The righteous will also suffer just like those who sin and suffer for it. Suffering and righteousness go hand in hand because we are molded into the image of Jesus Christ and He was the ultimate sufferer. No matter how you live this life will include lots of pain. There is no way to keep yourself from experiencing pain and suffering. Your choice is to suffer for sin, or suffer for righteousness. Suffering for righteousness has a glorious ending, suffering for sin does not!

"Lord Jesus, give me a heart to stay away from sin because of Your love for me. Show me today how to make You happy! And when the pain comes because of Your righteousness working in me assure me once again that You are with me always, even to the end of the world! Amen."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wanderer Returns!

Click here to listen to blog.
Christ carried the burden
of our sins.
He was nailed to the cross,
so we would stop sinning
and start living right.
By his cuts and bruises
you are healed.
You had wandered away
like sheep.
Now you have returned
to the one
who is your shepherd
and protector.

1 Peter 2:24-25

As a very small boy and I wasn't paying careful attention. I was with my mother in the grocery store and was captivated by all the pretty boxes of food and the sound of many people talking. Then suddenly I could not see my mother. Panic quickly came alive in my heart and in just a few seconds I became frantic. Then I saw my mother and ran up behind her and grabbed on to her coat. It was not her!

The end of that story is happy and not spectacular. In just a few moments my mother had found me. But I had learned a great lesson about keeping my eyes always on my mother when we were out in the world!
My trip to the grocery as a little boy reminds me of my walk with Jesus. At first I am confident and secure with Jesus. He even carries me in His arms much of the time. But then I begin to walk with Him and without even realizing it I become enamored with the world around me and wander off a bit. I haven't gone far, but when I look I don't see Jesus anymore.

Here is where I am not like a child. I don't immediately run to find my Lord. I think, "He must be near, so I don't need to worry." But I lose track to time and my wandering goes on and on, even for years during which I don't see my Lord.

Now is the time for you to look for Jesus like a lost child trying to find his mother. This is no time to be far away from Jesus. When trouble comes make sure you are holding His hand or even being carried in His arms. Then everything will be alright.

"Lord, this world has pulled me away from You again. I have wandered away and I want to return to You today. Show me the way back to Your arms. Amen."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Greatest Knowledge of All

Click here to listen to blog

Day and night I went without sleep, trying to understand what goes on in this world.  I saw everything God does, and I realized no one can really understand what happens. We may be very wise, but no matter how much we try or how much we claim to know, we cannot understand it all.

Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and was given that wisdom by God, but even Solomon says that we "cannot understand it all."

There has always been the temptation to try to "understand" everything that is going on in the world, and with the coming of the "information age" and especially the internet that temptation is sometimes overwhelming. "If I just go to one more website, or see one more YouTube video I will begin to understand." When I come home from the doctor I can immerse myself in information about his diagnosis and may even come to know more about my condition than he does.

In a sense this "search for knowledge" is part of the original sin of trying to be like God. "If I just know everything and understand everything then I will be in control of my life and the world around me." But the truth is that even being the wisest man who ever lived did not insure that Solomon would lead a righteous life. Wisdom and knowledge are certainly good things, but without humility before God even wisdom and knowledge are really worthless.

Ask yourself this question: Which is more important, having a post graduate theological degree or having a daily, vibrant and humble walk with the Lord? You may qualify for and be awarded the highest educational degree and have no faith at all in God, and you may have faith enough to "move mountains" without even knowing how to read and write!

Instead of trying to spend your life knowing everything there is to learn, spend each moment of each day getting to know the One who does know it all! God knows it all, and through Jesus Christ we can know Him!

"Thank You Jesus for the greatest knowledge of all, and that knowledge is knowing You as my Lord and Savior. Praise Your Name forever! Amen."